The America's Center expansion project AC Next Gen has broken ground, kicking off an expansion and facelift for the America's Center Convention Complex, which was last updated in 1995. The first phase of the multi-million dollar project includes a 72,000 SF exhibit space with natural lighting and a new entrance; more than twice the number of loading docks for access to the exhibit space and a food farm.
"The last few years have been very challenging for the industry, and that makes today even more important: we are back and building something new that will benefit St. Louis and event planners for many years to come", said Kathleen "Kitty" Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis. "This expansion to America's Center will help secure its place as a beacon for travel and tourism in the Midwest, creating good jobs for working families across our region", said mayor Jones. "Attracting more conventions and attractions will strengthen our city's urban core and make downtown an even better place to live, work and play."
„We are back and building something new.“
The AC Next Gen Project will be funded by existing hotel tax payments and expects to increase direct spending of meeting and events at America's Center to $394 million annually, generate 491,000 in room-night demand, and support 4,950 FTE jobs post-expansion. The project's cost of $210 million will be paid without a tax on local residents.
The first phase of the project includes expanding the existing exhibition hall 4 westward replacing a parking garage. The new hall roof has a 210-foot clear span for exhibit flexibility. It features natural daylight from windows located above the level that exhibit booths occupy. An expanded, enclosed loading dock will be directly serving the three north exhibit halls, thus doubling. The opaque façade screens the docks and trash dumpsters from view and features an iconic "Super St. Louis" sign to help brand the centre and provide that #Instagrammable image that tourist venues aspire to have. Additionally, a food farm will supply fresh produce for the centre's kitchen.https://explorestlouis.com/meetings-conventions/americas-center/ac-next-gen/